Hummingbird feeding is one of the most popular leisure activities these days. Watching those little creatures congregating and making fun sounds can relieve stress and anxiety. However, sometimes you may be bothered by uninvited insects, such as pests, wasps, ants, which lead to the obstruction of the bird’s eating behavior.
So, in which way can we attract the hummingbirds without inviting other guests? To stop the ants, we need to make some minor alterations in the garden. The information below will show you proven tips on how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder:
- Make your own ant moat
- Use a fishing line
- Try slippery surfaces
- Give mint leaves a try
- Consider using adhesive tape
- Adjust the location of the feeders at times
- Change the ratio of the food source
- Make sure there are no leakage on your feeders
- Hang your feeder in the shade
- Hang the feeder above the water
Table of Contents
- How to Keep Ants Out of Hummingbird Feeder
- 1. Make Your Own Ant Moat
- 2. Use a Fishing Line
- 3. Try Slippery Substances
- 4. Give Mint Leaves a Try
- 5. Consider Using Adhesive Tape
- 6. Adjust the Location of the Feeders at Times
- 7. Change the Ratio of the Food Source
- 8. Make Sure There are No Leakage on Your Feeders
- 9. Hang Your Feeder in the Shade
- 10. Hang the Feeder Above the Water
How to Keep Ants Out of Hummingbird Feeder
1. Make Your Own Ant Moat
Some may wonder why one would need to put effort into making an ant trap for hummingbird feeders while it is available on Amazon for around $9? An ant moat is actually quite easy to make with no extra cost, since every material is around your house. On the other hand, you can also enjoy the fun time doing things by yourself.
What you will need:
- An empty bottle
Choose one of your used empty bottles in the house in any size you want. You should choose the one with a cap on it.
- Metal rod/Coat hanger
The best rod should be around 12mm or below. In case you’re too lazy to go to the store to get one, you can replace it with a coat hanger in your wardrobe. One note here is that the size of the rod must be smaller than the size of the hole the drill makes.
- Utility knife
If you don’t have a utility knife, you can use a knife or a pair of scissors.
- Glue gun
Steps to make an ant moat
Step 1: Make the filler of the moat
First, you need to use a utility knife to cut the upper part of the bottle. The length of the cutting part should be around 10cm – 15cm. Be very careful in this process since you may cut your hands or touch the sharp edge of the filler.
Step 2: The hanger of the moat
Next, use the metal rod to make the hanger of the moat. If you don’t have a metal rod, you can use pliers to cut the straight part of the coat hanger.
Drill a hole in the middle of the bottle cap, then push the metal rod through the cap. In order to secure the rod, you need to use a heated glue gun. Put the filler upside down (like a U shape). Move the rod to the side and carefully put the glue right down the cap.
Try not to put the glue to the side of the filler to avoid it being distorted. The glue should be at the cap, not the filler of the moat. Try to keep the rod balanced and wait for 5 – 7 minutes to make sure the glue is dry.
Last but not least, use pliers to bend two points of the rod in the shape of a fish hook and keep in mind that you need to bend the ends in the same direction. In this way, you can hang the moat straight up and down.
Step 3: Place the moat above the feeder
When all the steps are done, bring the hummingbird feeder ant guard to the garden and place it right above the feeders by the metal rod. Pour some water into the hummingbird feeder and use the ant moat to prevent ants from approaching the food because they are not good swimmers. In this way, the hummingbirds can enjoy their food without being disturbed by other insects.
Watch the video below to give you visual instructions on making an ant moat:
2. Use a Fishing Line
In case you live in an area that is not suitable for making an ant moat, you can hang the feeder on a fishing line. This item is so thin and unstable that it will make it difficult for the ants to get balanced access to the feeder. However, you should still make sure that the line is strong enough to hold the feeders safely.
3. Try Slippery Substances
Some related articles show that slippery substances, such as vaseline and petroleum jelly can keep ants away from hummingbird feeder. Some people use natural vegetable oil like peppermint essential oil or pine essential oil to distract the ants.
It works but it may lead to opposite results. The slippery substances can stick to the birds’ feathers and make them unable to fly. Therefore, you should use oils sparingly for the safety of the birds.
4. Give Mint Leaves a Try
Another natural solution to repel ants is using bay leaves or mint leaves around the feeders. If you have used a pole to hang the feeder, then tie the bay leaves or mint leaves around the pole and wire used to hang the feeder.
This method proves to be efficient and is widely used thanks to its pungent smell that will keep ants away from the hummingbird feeder. You can also add some essential oils that are extracted from bay leaves, myrcene to increase the effect.
5. Consider Using Adhesive Tape
One simple idea to prevent ants is applying adhesive tape around the wire or the pole used to hang the feeders with its gum on the outer. The ants will get stuck on their way to the food source and won’t be able to reach the nectar. However, there’s one problem. You have to change the tape regularly because it easily wears off after a few days of use. So, find the strongest adhesive tape to reap its full function.
6. Adjust the Location of the Feeders at Times
The ants usually build their habits around the food source. By taking advantage of this behavior, we can move the feeder to another place in the garden to solve the ant problem. Some of you might worry that this can also distract the hummingbirds. Fortunately, hummingbirds are well-known for their adaptability, so this changing location process won’t make things difficult for them.
7. Change the Ratio of the Food Source
Hummingbird nectar, also known as sugar water, is usually made with the ratio: one part sugar to four parts water. In order to minimize the ability to attract ants, you should change the ratio to less sugar or more water. In this way, the hummingbird’s feeding still goes on the nectar but the sugar water will draw less ants.
8. Make Sure There are No Leakage on Your Feeders
This reason appears to be common when it comes to attracting the ants to the nectar. In case your feeder is leaking, stop them right away. Since your feeders leak food outside, the ants will smell the scent and follow it. So, be sure to cover all the leakage on the feeders to keep the ants from getting to the food and try to be careful to avoid any splits or damages on the feeders.
9. Hang Your Feeder in the Shade
Placing your feeder in a place that is not exposed to the sun will keep ants from seeing the way to the food. However, a completely dark area will fail to attract hummingbirds as well. Therefore, put the nectar in a partially shade place so the hummingbirds can still access the feeder.
10. Hang the Feeder Above the Water
If you have a pond or a body of water in your yard, make use of it to repel ants. Since ants are not good swimmers as I mentioned, they will stay away from the water and then, this method can keep them away from the feeder.
Do you find the tutorial on how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder interesting? Those ideas are not difficult to execute yet can bring discernible effects in keeping ants away from hummingbird feeders. Just a little effort is needed to say goodbye to the ants and bring back the tranquility in your own garden forever.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and if you have better tips to keep ants out of the hummingbird feeders, we’re eager to hear about them.
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.